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Paradigm has joined forces with nine other housing associations to help understand the difficulties that the younger generation face in accessing affordable housing.

We are a member of the Consortium of Associations in the South East (CASE), who commission the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research (CRESR) at Sheffield Hallam University. They carry out research into the housing options available to ‘millennials’ – single, under 35 year olds, in the South East.

The research began after the Government announced its policy on the Shared Accommodation Rate (SAR), which will be extended to this group within social housing from 2019 – resulting in a cap to their housing benefit.

The report, ‘Capping Aspiration: the millennial challenge’, found that the SAR cap will affect nearly all under 35’s (84%) living in social housing, in the South East. The report also highlights that ‘millennials’ in low-paid, insecure jobs are being ‘locked out’ of all housing options in the region. Findings show that over half (51%) of those under 35 are unable to afford the cheapest private rents, with the figure rising to over three quarters (76%) for those under 25 years old.

Dr Kesia Reeve, from CRESR, said that “People starting out, such as those in apprenticeships or nursery assistants, are often on low wages and in the most insecure roles. With high housing costs in the South East, when things don’t go to plan, people may need housing benefit to take the strain. But what we found was the Shared Accommodation Rate, should someone find themselves out of work, would mean people would have just a few pounds a week on which to live.”

 Matthew Bailes, Chief Executive of Paradigm said: “As a society we are failing to provide the next generation with decent and affordable housing. This affects young people across a full range of income levels, but as the research shows single people on low incomes will in the future be particularly exposed. It is important that as a sector we highlight these problems and that we think creativity about potential solutions.”

The report also features some housing options that the housing sector currently offers in terms of shared accommodation – for both those under and over 35. This includes Paradigm’s own large-scale shared accommodation scheme in East London, to increase the number of properties available from 142 to 229 rooms. The redevelopment of this scheme will enable us to continue to meet the high demand for this type of housing, and ultimately provide a home to single, non-priority need homeless people in this area.
Whilst the report illustrates some of the solutions that are currently on offer, and could be developed in the future, unfortunately little or none of these solutions will continue to work in the light of the SAR cap, without additional measures being put in place. 

Given these findings, along with the additional concerns that the report raises, Paradigm and the other associations that form CASE are calling on the government to reconsider the SAR, and provide the freedoms and flexibilities for housing associations and local authorities to continue to meet the housing needs of this group.